‘Devastating for the country’: Houstonians recall surviving Lebanon explosion

HOUSTON – Members of a well-known Lebanese family from Houston survived the catastrophic explosion in Lebanon on Tuesday.

“Everybody knows somebody who was in one way or another affected by this,” Susan Hage said via zoom from Lebanon. “It’s very sad. You talk to people, you look around, and everybody is in total shock.”

George Abdallah and his wife, Laurie, left Lebanon more than 50 years ago and settled in Houston, where he started several businesses, including Abdallah’s Lebanese Restaurant.

“He loved Houston, he taught us to love Houston,” his daughter, Rita Joubran said. “But he taught us to always remember where we came from.”

Every summer for decades, the family returned to Lebanon. This summer, last week, they returned to bury George Abdallah in his home village of Tanbourit.

Several days later, the massive chemical warehouse explosion rocked Beirut, killing dozens of people and injuring thousands.

Joubran flew back to Houston before the blast.

“When I heard the news, my heart sank because my mom and my sister and my nieces and nephew are still there,” Joubran said. “We have some friends that were injured.”

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